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June 2019

Food Review: Breakfast Best brand sausage, egg & cheese croissant sandwiches

By Mike Thayer

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and my go-to meal is a Jimmy Dean sausage, egg & cheese croissant sandwich and a cup of coffee.  It's a convenient, simple, but pleasurable hot breakfast to start my work day. 

20190610_080018I can pick up a box of 12 Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches at Costco for about $12, that's $1 per sandwich, that's cheap but tasty eats!  But when shopping at Aldi one day, I happened across their discount brand version, the Breakfast Best sausage, egg & cheese croissant.  At only $3.99 for a box of four sandwiches, I thought I would give them a try.  Would they be as good as Jimmy Dean's?

Similar in almost every way to the Jimmy Deans, I removed the sandwich from the wrapper, put it on a paper plate (easy clean up!) and microwaved it according to the box instructions.  About three minutes later, I was enjoying breakfast and a cup of hazelnut coffee with cream.

The sandwich hit the spot.  It microwaved well, the sausage had a hint of smoke to it, the egg was fluffy enough, the cheese melted nicely and most importantly, that croissant was flaky.  Sometimes when you nuke a sandwich, the bread can get a bit of a hard, too crispy edge to it.  Not so here.  Overall, this is a good knock-off of the Jimmy Dean sandwich.  The only real difference is in the sausage, while having that hint of smoke, it's not as nicely seasoned as the Jimmy Dean. 

20190610_080004-1With both brands pricing out at $1 per sandwich, it comes down to which sandwich I would prefer to eat.  Jimmy Dean.  The Breakfast Best is a nice Plan B though.

I'm giving Breakfast Best sausage, egg & cheese croissant sandwiches 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  The price is right and they taste good, just not quite as good as Jimmy Dean's.

4 stars

 


IHOP's Country Omelette = Delicious

By Mike Thayer

IHOPI did a bit of traveling through the Midwest recently and having some time for a sit-down breakfast, I ventured into an IHOP in Coralville, Iowa.

It's been awhile since I've eaten at an IHOP, in fact since I did a review of their Bacon Temptation Omelette, which was fantastic!  Tempted to have that again (you see what I did there?....) I opted for their Country Omelette.  

"What, an omelette instead of pancakes or waffles when dining at the International House of Pancakes?"....  You say.

That's right, I'm not a big pancake or waffle kind of guy.  I don't like sweet for breakfast, I have to go savory, eggs, meat and cheese fits the bill for me.

I was seated without wait after entering the establishment at about 9am.  The restaurant wasn't busy as I took a seat but it wasn't empty either, with a sprinkling of folks enjoying their first meal of the day and a few more trickling in as I opened the menu.  The waiter asked what I wanted to drink.  "Coffee please," I replied and off he went to fill up that IHOP traditional tableside pot of java. 

The waiter returned with the pot of coffee, took my Country Omelette order and I then proceeded to doctor up my cup of Joe with some cream and sugar.  Shortly after stirring and enjoying a few slugs, my order arrived.

20190601_090414Here's the description from the IHOP website:  Our delicious blend of ham, cheese, fresh onions and hash browns is topped off just right — with a dollop of sour cream. Then we serve your omelette with your choice of one delicious side: three buttermilk pancakes, hash browns, toast or fresh seasonal mixed fruit.

What a delicious breakfast!  The omelette was perfectly prepared, the eggs were fluffy and I got the ham, cheese, fresh onion and hash brown in every bite.  Just look at all that cheese!  Dipped into that dollop of sour cream, every forkful of omelette was a dose of YUM!  Ordered with a side of yes, more hash browns, the bill for my breakfast came to about $13.  That's not exactly Bachelor on the Cheap friendly, but on this occasion, I'm OK with it.  You just won't get something like this at a fast food joint.  It's OK to splurge once in awhile.  IHOP's Country Omelette was tasty, tasty, tasty!

The restaurant was clean, the service was friendly and fast, and most importantly the food was excellent!

IHOP gets 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap Stars

4 stars

Spend Wisely My Friends.....


A home remedy for garden pests - insecticidal soap

By Mike Thayer

20190628_142020-1I'm one of those playing-in-the-dirt loving people. Gardening is a simple pleasure for me, from creating veggie or flower beds, to planting, to weeding, to the harvest, from start to finish it's all good. And it doesn't get any fresher than going out to the backyard, patio or balcony and picking fresh produce for dinner.

But it doesn't matter how well maintained your garden is, at some point, you'll have to deal with pests. 

This is the third year for my patio garden and this season is the best it's ever performed, but today in harvesting a few green onions, I came across a couple of bugs I didn't care to see.  I've been invaded by stink bugs.

Stink bugs are sap suckers, they have a voracious appetite and will feed on just about any kind of plant.  They prefer fruit over foliage, but they're NOT picky.  They'll eat just about anything in the garden.

After squashing the two that I saw - and yes, they do stink when squashing hence the name - I began looking at the underside of leaves, focusing on cucumber plants (a garden pest favorite) and sure enough, MORE stink bugs!  Sigh, these things do like to hang out in groups....

AAAARRRGGGGHHHHH!

Time to break out the insecticidal soap.  You can purchase insecticidal soap at Lowe's, Ace Hardware, Walmart, etc., but you'll be paying way too much for it, even at Walmart.  Many insecticidal soap brands also contain unwanted chemicals which if you're into organic, is a no-no and some of those commercial soaps can affect your harvest time too, pushing it back.  Here's a home made recipe, it's cheap and NOT toxic.  Most importantly, it performs just as well as the commercial stuff.  It messes with those pests, but NOT your garden! 

  • 1 Tablespoon of Dawn dish soap
  • 1 Tablespoon of Hydrogen Peroxide (optional)
  • 1 quart of water
  • Spray bottle

Stink BugIf you don't have Dawn dish soap, just make sure to use a pure soap, to mean, not dish washing detergent or any soap with bleach or perfumes in it.  Such things are harmful to the plants you'll be spraying.  The optional Hydrogen Peroxide in the recipe kind of acts like a booster and serves a dual purpose.  If there are any pest bug larvae lurking in the roots of your plants, they won't like this concoction hitting them.

This stuff works because while stink bugs have a harder shell-like back, they have a soft underside and that's where the soap does its job.  The soap penetrates that soft underside, ultimately suffocating and drying out the pest. 

When spraying, be sure to turn the leaves of your plants, hitting the underside.  You should have seen all the stink bugs coming out of hiding when I started spraying!  And with that, here's the key to insecticidal soap, it only works when coming in direct contact with the pest.   Hit those bugs with the spray!

Don't buy the commercial stuff, make your own.

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

 


Food Review: Home Style Select Tortilla Chips

By Mike Thayer

Tostitos
Don't buy this....

Don't pay too much for tortilla chips!

If you're stuck on buying the name brand, stop it.  You're throwing money away.  Why pay over $3 maybe $4 for a name brand when you can get a discount brand of tortilla chips that are every bit as good for less than $2?

Regular readers know that I like to shop at Aldi and their discount brand of Home Style Select Tortilla chips are indeed every bit as good as Tostitos and cost less than $2.   That's a savings of $1 - $2 for something you're going to dip in some queso, guacamole or make nachos with. 

20190613_135310The Home Style Select chips can do everything the Tostitos can do, dipping, topping, and in eating them straight out of the bag there's no difference in taste or texture.  The chip breakage at the bottom of the bag is about the same too. 

So why spend more money for essentially the same thing?

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

Home Style Select Tortilla Chips
Buy this instead....

 

 


Drink Review: Bird Dog Strawberry Whiskey

By Mike Thayer

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Yukon Jack Jacapple.

20190620_091942Today's tasting is Bird Dog Strawberry Whiskey.  I've sampled Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey, was well as Bird Dog Apple, both of which I enjoyed.  

Here's the description from the Bird Dog website: 

Perfect for sipping, shots or mixology, Bird Dog Strawberry Whiskey blooms with a light, sweet strawberry flavor throughout.

Potency: 80 PROOF / 40% Alc/Vol

Color: Golden Amber

Nose: Sweet, fresh strawberries and a hint of rich bourbon

Body: Vibrant strawberry mixed with notes of a well-aged, woody bourbon

Finish: A sweet berry fade accompanies a subtle warmth

Of note, this whiskey is 80 proof. Most other flavored whiskeys are 70 proof, so this has a little more 'kick' to it.  I served up this whiskey in a straight shot and on the rocks.  Bird Dog falls a bit short on this one.  Contrary to the company line, this whiskey isn't good for sipping or shots, it's too strawberry forward, with an almost medicinal quality and unfortunately, the strawberry doesn't fade into a subtle warm bourbon finish.  The strawberry lingers and not in a good way.  To be fair, it might be just me, but like my distaste for the pairing of peach and whiskey, I don't think strawberry pairs well with whiskey either. Perhaps there's a reason Bird Dog is one of the few distillers that make a strawberry flavored variety. 

Costing me about $16 for a 750ml bottle, the price is reasonable but this particular Bird Dog flavored whiskey is NOT a repeat buy.  Best used in mixology - NOT sipping or shots - Bird Dog Strawberry Whiskey gets just 2 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Given how I enjoyed their Blackberry and Apple flavors, I expected better.

2 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Adding a bit of whimsy to the garden

By Mike Thayer

Chair Planter
Repurposing a chair

Have an old, wobbly, doesn't-fit-in-with-the-decor, or otherwise unwanted chair in the house?

Put it in the garden.

An easy project, I took a little wobbly chair, removed the seat cushion, bought a plastic pot to match the black frame, purchased some plants that pair well together and voila, a whimsy display for the patio garden!

This chair planter project took all of 20 minutes to do.  After removing the seat, I put the pot in place, drilled a few holes in the bottom for drainage, dropped in some weed cloth to keep the dirt in, poured in some planting mix (which I already had on hand), and transplanted those plants.  I actually spent more time shopping for the right pot and plants!  My total cost to 'create' the planter was $23, the bulk of that spent on the plants, which were on clearance at Walmart.  It's getting to be the end of garden center shopping season, so get what flowers and veggies you still need while supplies last, selections up to 50% off.

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

20190621_121414(1)

 


Back By Popular Demand, Cheesy Bites Pizza Pulls, Dips And Pops Its Way Back Onto Pizza Hut Menus For A Limited Time

Pizza up front. Tiny delicious Cheesy Bites in the back. Your summer starts now.

PLANO, Texas, — Ah, summer. Beach days, baseball, long weekends, longer nights and the much-anticipated return of Cheesy Bites Pizza.

Yeah that’s right. Temps are rising and so is your appetite for the iconic Cheesy Bites Pizza, back just in time for you to pull, dip and pop your way to a cheesier you. Not familiar with Cheesy Bites? Let us break it down for you, they’re cheesy, they’re bite-sized and they replace the traditional pizza crust. Enter…Cheesy…Bites…Pizza. See what we did there? 

Cheesy Bites Pizza is back! Pull, dip and pop all summer long with the iconic appetizer-and-pizza-in-one from Pizza Hut, now available nationwide for a limited time.
Cheesy Bites Pizza is back! Pull, dip and pop all summer long with the iconic appetizer-and-pizza-in-one from Pizza Hut, now available nationwide for a limited time.

“Only Pizza Hut can bring you a bold creation and epic pizza-eating experience like Cheesy Bites Pizza,” said Marianne Radley, chief brand officer, Pizza Hut. “Pizza meets party with this all-time fan favorite, which lets you and your friends soak up some much-needed Vitamin Cheese all. summer. long.” 

This appetizer-and-pizza-in-one has a little something for everyone, whether you’re feeling generous and feeding the neighborhood block party with the 28 craveable, cheese-filled bites, or just satisfying a personal, cheesy craving (we salute you). So…what are you waiting for? Cheesy Bites Pizza is back (by way of delivery, carryout and dine-in) at Pizza Hut locations nationwide, but only for a limited time. Get ’em before they’re gone.

To stay up to date on the latest from Pizza Hut, follow along on TwitterInstagram and Facebook. For more information, visit Blog.PizzaHut.com or head to Pizza Hut.com to order now.

About Pizza Hut®
Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:  YUM), has more restaurant locations in the world than any other pizza company. Founded in 1958 in Wichita, Kan., Pizza Hut operates over 18,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.

With easy order options including the Pizza Hut app, mobile site, and Amazon and Google devices, Pizza Hut is committed to providing an easy pizza experience – from order to delivery – and has Hut Rewards, the Pizza Hut loyalty program that offers points for every dollar spent on food any way you order.

Pizza Hut is also the proprietor of The Literacy Project, an initiative designed to enable access, empower teachers and inspire a lifelong love of reading. The program is rooted in the foundation set by the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, which is the longest-running corporate supported literacy program, impacting more than 14 million students each year. For more information, visit www.pizzahut.com. Pizza Hut is the Official and Only Pizza Sponsor of the NFL and NCAA®.


One Giant Leap for Doughnut-Kind!

KRISPY KREME® Takes Doughnut Innovation to New Heights with Launch of the Original Filled Doughnut

NEW Original Filled Doughnuts are now permanently available in the U.S., initially in two flavors – Classic Kreme™ and Chocolate Kreme™

Try one for FREE June 22!

As America prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, we want to give our fans a new taste experience that is out of this world.

Original FilledWINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-- It’s round. It’s glazed. And for the first time in the U.S., it’s FILLED! Introducing a doughnut innovation fans could have only imagined until now – Krispy Kreme’s NEW Original Filled Doughnut.

Delivering a new taste experience for the doughnut-verse, Krispy Kreme’s Original Filled is a whole new interpretation of the brand’s iconic Original Glazed® doughnut. Featuring Krispy Kreme’s classic Original Glazed® doughnut, the new product is initially offered with a choice of two fillings: Classic Kreme™ and Chocolate Kreme™, providing the perfect bite every time.

Krispy Kreme was at the launch of Apollo 11, serving fresh doughnuts to Americans witnessing liftoff of this monumental mission. As America prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, we want to give our fans a new taste experience that is out of this world. We choose to fill our Original Glazed® doughnuts, not because it is easy, but because it is hard (no disrespect intended, JFK). Actually… it’s not hard, it’s melt-in-your-mouth delicious,” said Dave Skena, Chief Marketing Officer for Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation.

Fans can experience the launch of the Original Filled Doughnut for FREE on June 22 (one free doughnut per guest) as Krispy Kreme’s reward to America for meeting the brand’s National Doughnut Day challenge of giving away 1 million free doughnuts. For more information on the Original Filled doughnuts, visit www.krispykreme.com/original-filled.

Be a part of doughnut history and share your favorite Original Filled Doughnut experience on social, using the hashtag #krispykreme and tagging @krispykreme.

About Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation is a global retailer of premium-quality sweet treats, including its signature Original Glazed® doughnut. Headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C., the company has offered the highest-quality doughnuts and great-tasting coffee since it was founded in 1937. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is proud of its Fundraising program, which for decades has helped non-profit organizations raise millions of dollars in needed funds. Krispy Kreme doughnuts can be found in approximately 12,000 grocery, convenience and mass merchant stores in the U.S. The Company has nearly 1,400 retail shops in 33 countries. Connect with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts at www.KrispyKreme.com, or on one of its many social media channels, including www.Facebook.com/KrispyKreme, and www.Twitter.com/KrispyKreme.


The Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich and Strawberry Passion Tea Lemonade will be available for a limited time this summer

ATLANTA  – Chick-fil-A is giving guests that summertime feeling with two backyard barbecue-inspired menu items available for a limited time. Customers can now order the Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich and the new Strawberry Passion Tea Lemonade at restaurants nationwide.

The Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich was featured as a seasonal item on the menu in 2017, and is returning thanks to its popularity among customers. It features Chick-fil-A’s grilled chicken breast, which is marinated with a special blend of seasonings and grilled for a tender and juicy backyard-grilled taste. The sandwich is served on a toasted, buttered sweet yeast bun with Colby-Jack cheese, green leaf lettuce, bacon hand-tossed in a brown sugar and pepper blend, and a zesty Smokehouse BBQ Sauce crafted specifically for the entrée.

“We are so excited for the return of the Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich and to introduce our new Strawberry Passion Tea Lemonade, two seasonal items that evoke the carefree delights of summer,” said Amanda Norris, Chick-fil-A executive director of menu & packaging. “Customers loved the Smokehouse BBQ Bacon sandwich when it was available in 2017, and we think it pairs perfectly with the Strawberry Passion Tea Lemonade. We hope customers will enjoy these warm weather favorites all summer long.”

The Strawberry Passion Tea Lemonade is a refreshing hand-crafted beverage made by combining Chick-fil-A Lemonade and freshly-brewed Unsweetened Iced Tea with natural strawberry passionfruit juice and flavors. This drink is also available with Chick-fil-A Diet Lemonade.  


BBQ Sauce Challenge: Ranking the popular BBQ sauces from worst to first

By Mike Thayer

What is the most popular thing to add to meats cooked outdoors?

BBQ Sauces

20190217_182745It’s true, the most popular thing to add to the plethora of meats cooked outdoors is BBQ sauce. If you had guessed ketchup, believe it or not, you would be wrong.

The person who invented BBQ sauce is unknown, but whoever he was, he was a genius! References to the sauce started appearing in 17th century English and French literature about the formation of the American colonies. The rest is history and boy has BBQ sauce been kicked up a notch with all kinds of flavors and varieties created over the last 400+ years!

A traditional flavoring for pork, beef and chicken, sauce can range from watery to thick, from being heavy on the vinegar to being loaded with spice. Ranging in flavor from sugary to savory, to HOT!, heck, there’s even mustard and mayonnaise based BBQ sauces. It’s a regional thing, there’s Carolina BBQ; Tennessee whiskey BBQ; Texas BBQ; and the favorite of many, Kansas City Style BBQ.

Kansas City BBQ Style: This is a thick, rich tomato based sauce that’s got some spice but is heavier on the sweet. Tomato, brown sugar and vinegar are the base ingredients. It really doesn’t penetrate the meat and is more like a frosting than a marinade. It glazes real nice though when put on the meat about 10 minutes before pulling off the grill, a beautiful finish. This is the most popular style of BBQ sauce in the U.S. and what you see the most of in the bottled varieties on the grocery store shelf. Be careful with the store bought stuff though! The high sugar content of the ‘ready’ varieties tend to burn real quick so keep an eye on your dinner.

Texas BBQ Style: This has more kick than Kansas City style. It has less tomato, less sugar and a lot more spice such as cumin, black pepper, chili pepper and even chili powder. Meat drippings and hot sauce - Tabasco - are always part of this style and fresh veggies like green bell pepper and onion are often added.

East Carolina Mop: This simple but tasty sauce was pioneered by the African slaves of Scottish settlers in the region. It’s a straight forward combination of hot pepper flakes, ground black pepper and vinegar. The reason it’s called a mop is because this thin concoction is literally mopped - basted - on the meat throughout the cooking process, the flavor really penetrates! With little if any sugar and no tomato in this style, East Carolina Mop is a sharp contrast to other sauces.

Western Carolina Dip: From the hilly areas of North Carolina, most American sauces can trace their roots to this one. The recipe usually consists of a base of black pepper blended with tomato paste or tomato sauce, or ketchup, with vinegar added to balance it out. Like the East Carolina Mop, this is a thin sauce that is mopped on the meat throughout the cooking process.

South Carolina Mustard Style: This is a whole new BBQ sauce experience. Early German settlers developed this one and while good on chicken, it’s tailor made for pork. A little thicker than its Carolina cousin sauces, a simple recipe consists of mustard, vinegar, spices and a little sugar. It’s fantastic on a pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw!

Tennessee Whiskey Style: Made famous by the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Barbecue Invitational, this method of flavoring meats is also referred to as ‘Memphis Style’ has become so popular it now deserves its own category. This combination of vinegar, whiskey, molasses, spices, and Worcestershire sauce gives BBQ a whole new flavor profile.

There are all kinds of variations and morphing of styles out there, there are probably all kinds of choices available at your favorite grocery store.

In this bbq sauce challenge, I focused on trying the 'base' or original varieties of all brands when possible.   So after all this sampling and making comparisons, which store-bought sauce do I think is the cream of the crop?  Is it KC Masterpiece?  Sweet Baby Ray's?  Stubbs?  Something else?

Keep in mind after all this sampling, the best bbq sauce is made from scratch, but there are going to be those times when you don't have time to make any.  Having a store-bought variety you like on hand is a good thing for those impromptu bbq cravings, a way to doctor a burger up and/or "Plan B"/leftover offerings.  I hope this list helps you in your store-bought bbq sauce shopping!

The Worst - Stubbs:  This is THE worst bbq sauce I've ever put in my mouth.  I really can't put this in any bbq category either except BAD.   There's not enough kick in it to be a Texas Style, there's not enough sweet for it to be a called a KC style and the sauce comes up short on enough vinegar to be considered a Carolina style.  I don't care if Stubbs comes from Texas, this sauce sucks and is NOT a repeat buy.  You can't even doctor this stuff up it's that bad. 

KC Masterpiece:  This sauce is almost the literal definition for a KC BBQ style sauce, it's thick, big on the tomato and heavy on molasses, but so heavy in fact, the sweet from the molasses is overpowering.  This sauce by itself is too sweet, it needs to be doctored before putting it on anything.  Tastes change going from childhood (liking the sweet) to adulthood and when it's all said and done, KC Masterpiece is what I would politely call an introductory BBQ sauce. 

Heinz Classic:  The commentary on the bottle boasts of how the Heinz Barbecue team traveled the country and talked with pitmasters to bring us a sauce that captures the real flavors of barbecue.  Did they only talk to the losing teams then?  Because this sauce sucks.  It's a KC BBQ style sauce that is just too heavy on the sweet.  The first ingredient listed on the label is cane sugar, I'll give them kudos for using a natural ingredient rather than high fructose corn syrup, but goodness gracious - sugar is your first ingredient Heinz?  It's overpowering.  

Kraft Original:  This is another sauce that's typically stocked at your local grocery store. No description is featured on the bottle and the list of ingredients puts this sauce in the KC BBQ style of sauces, a thick, tomato based sauce that’s got some spice but is heavier on the sweet. Comparable to KC Masterpiece, that's not a good thing, it's a kid friendly sauce - heavy on the sweet. 

Bullseye Everyday Original:  This is a Kraft Foods product with a slightly different list of ingredients and it's only slightly better than Kraft Original.  High Fructose Corn Syrup is the first ingredient listed and it is a sweet sauce in the KC BBQ style.  What separates it from Kraft Original is a higher measure of vinegar, which helps to offset the sweetness.  This used to be THE bbq sauce used by Burger King, but they dumped Bullseye in favor of Sweet Baby Rays.

Kingsford Original Smoked Hickory: I have to be honest here, going in I thought this was going to be another excessively hyped up "Name Brand" but over-the-top sweet sauce that would be more of a frosting than a BBQ sauce.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It wasn't too sweet at all and the hickory smoke notes definitely came through.  It is a thick sauce that lends itself to being a good glaze for the last 10 minutes of cooking time as opposed to a being a mopping sauce but that's OK, because the dirty little secret is truly great barbecue doesn't really need a sauce. 

Cookies Original: Hailing from my home state of Iowa....  Yes, Iowa has some good BBQ.....  If you are a regular reader you know I really like Cookies Flavor Enhancer, my favorite off-the-shelf all purpose seasoning.  And I've been known to use Cookies BBQ sauce as a base for doctoring up with minced onion, bourbon, garlic powder, Cayenne, red pepper flake and a few other ingredients.  So in full disclosure I'm already familiar with this sauce.  It's a KC BBQ style sauce, rich and thick, not something you can mop ribs with but works really well as a glaze applied 10 minutes or so before serving.  What sets this sauce apart from others is the use of Worcestershire Sauce in the recipe.  A bit on the sweet side (which is why I like to doctor it, balancing it out with some heat), this is a versatile sauce, delivering classic BBQ flavor that will please just about everyone. 

Weber Original: From the iconic maker of grills, comes Weber's Sweet & Thick Original BBQ Sauce.  You figure they know what they're doing right?  The recipe boasts of NO high fructose corn syrup and from the ingredients listed on the label this sauce is made in a Texas style, with more spice and less sugar than a KC BBQ style sauce.  And yes, Weber knows what they're doing, this is a very respectable sauce.  Smooth with a really nice finish, what sets Weber apart from other sauces is the use of red pepper, you definitely get that in each bite, it's not subtle, but it's not overpowering either.

Famous Dave's Sweet & Sassy:  If you know anything about BBQ, you know that Famous Dave's is renowned for winning on the competition BBQ circuit, touting more than 700 awards from a variety of contests nationwide, awards for Famous Dave's meats, desserts, his sauce, his catering business and his restaurants. So it comes as no surprise that this is a good sauce. It's a nicely balanced sauce hitting all the right notes, the tomato, the spice which is smartly offset by the sweet, you get the twang of the vinegar and here's what sets this sauce apart, the pineapple juice. It's a refreshing kiss of tart. There's a hint of honey in there too, making for a really nice saucy bite.

Sweet Baby Ray's:  There's no ingredient teaser description on the bottle, just a blurb about the sauce beating out 700 other competitors in a riboff leading to the creation of the company.    Enough said, the sauce lives up to the award hype. It's a very good all-around sauce, balanced in sweet, spice and twang, a morphing of KC and Texas style sauces.  It's an off-the-shelf bottle that deserves a place in your pantry or fridge.

The BEST - Head Country Original: This is a very well-balanced blend of sweet and savory with subtle spice and that's the description right from the bottle because it is that spot on. I'm thinking to myself, "Why haven't I tried this sauce before now?' This is competition bbq quality sauce, it is the sauce flavor judges are looking for when they sample contestant ribs, chicken and brisket. This was my favorite of the challenge, the clear winner and I'm speaking from experience having been a certified Kansas City Barbecue Society Competition Barbecue Judge.

So there you have it, a guide of sorts for the more popular 'base' or original bbq sauces that you will most likely find on your local grocery store shelves....  There are plenty more off-the-shelf sauces there, to include adventures into more elaborate flavor pairings.  Try them until you find one or two you really like.  I recommend having a bottle of something you like on hand in your pantry or fridge.  It's also good to have something store-bought on hand for those times when you're in the mood for creating a scratch-made sauce that's extra hot or has extra twang....  something that appeals to you, but maybe some family and/or a few friends.....  not so much...

$pend Wisely My Friends.....